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Professor Leif Wenar

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Room: SW2.12



Leif Wenar holds the Chair of Philosophy & Law at King’s College London.

After earning his Bachelor’s degree from Stanford, he went to Harvard to study with John Rawls, and wrote his doctoral thesis on property rights with Robert Nozick and T.M. Scanlon. He has worked in the UK since 1997.

He has been William H. Bonsall Visiting Professor in the Stanford Philosophy Department; a Visiting Professor at the Stanford University Center on Ethics in Society; a Visiting Professor at the Princeton Department of Politics; a Visiting Professor and a Fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values; a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University School of Philosophy; a Fellow of the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at The Murphy Institute of Political Economy, and a Fellow of the Program on Justice and the World Economy at The Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

His publications and cv can be found at

Research interests

Leif Wenar is the author of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence and the Rules that Run the World (Oxford, 2016).

He works in three main areas:

  1. International issues, such as the ‘resource curse’ that afflicts natural resource-exporting countries; development aid and charitable giving; and whether democratic states are more peaceful.
  2. Rights: How this central normative concept of modernity should be understood, and how specific rights should be justified.
  3. Justice and Ethics: Most of his scholarly work has focused on the deeper themes in the writings of John Rawls. He also co-edited the collection Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy and the autobiographical volume Hayek on Hayek.

More information on the Clean Trade project for improving international trade in natural resources can be found at

Selected publications

  • Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence and the Rules That Run The World (2016) Oxford: OUP (forthcoming)
  • 'The Nature of Claim-Rights' Ethics (2013).
  • 'Poverty is No Pond: Challenges for the Affluent' in Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy (Oxford, 2011).
  • 'Are Liberal Peoples Peaceful?' (with B. Milanovic)  Journal of Political Philosophy (2009).
  • 'Property Rights and the Resource Curse' Philosophy & Public Affairs (2008).
  • 'John Rawls' Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008/12).
  • 'The Nature of Rights' Philosophy & Public Affairs (2005).

View more of Professor Wenar’s publications.

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